Covid-19 testing in care homes in England could be de-prioritised to save scarce laboratory capacity for the NHS, public health officials fear.
The prioritisation of testing capacity to speed up results from hospitals has been raised in meetings between the NHS and local authorities, sources said. Delays in hospital testing are reportedly slowing down patient discharge and have caused some elective surgery to be postponed.
“There are moves afoot to keep testing capacity for the NHS,” one local health official said after meetings with NHS colleagues. “It has been mooted in our area that the NHS has to come first and it is having real difficulties.”
In an email seen by the Guardian, another senior local official urged colleagues to help head off a “concerning” proposal to prioritise NHS testing above care homes. They warned any reduction in care home testing could delay the identification of outbreaks. Concern